BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined with the Baker-Polito Administration this week to announce the Reading Fire Department has been awarded $8,230 in state grants to provide fire safety outreach to local students and older residents.
Reading will receive $5,175 as part of the Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program, which the fire department will use to provide fire safety tips to all students in grades Pre-K through 5, using a fire safety house. Another $3,055 has been allocated to the department under the Senior SAFE program, which will be used to provide fire safety presentations to local seniors and to assist with smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installations and battery replacements.
“These funds are critical to ensuring we properly fund our public safety officials so they can continue to protect and keep our communities informed,” said Representative Haggerty. “This over $8,000 in grant money will ensure the Reading Fire Department has the financial resources it requires to continue keeping the town and its residents safe through fire safety education and prevention.”
Since 1996, the S.A.F.E. program has provided state funding to municipal fire departments on an annual basis to promote fire safety education in schools. Eight years ago, Massachusetts launched the Senior SAFE program to support fire safety training for seniors, who are considered among the most at-risk groups for dying in a fire. Both programs are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services within the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.
According to the Department of Fire Services, the average number of children dying in fires annually has dropped by 78% since the S.A.F.E. program began. This represents a decline that is almost 30% greater than the decline in fire deaths overall.
A total of $1.8 million in grants is being distributed to 234 municipal fire departments across Massachusetts in the latest round of funding.